Are you looking for what is CRM software and how to use it? In this informational article we're trying to answer those questions and also the following related questions:
- What does CRM system do?
- Why should you invest in CRM?
- What are some examples of CRM software?
- What is included in CRM?
- Which CRM software is best?
- Why should you invest in a cloud-based CRM software?
What is CRM software?
Let's start by answering what CRM software is. The CRM or Customer Relationship Management refers to business systems designed to manage your customer interactions. CRM is a term that refers to practices, strategies, and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal is to improve customer service relationships and assist in customer retention and driving sales growth.
At the most basic level, CRM software brings all customer data and documents into a single platform. Today, CRM is usually a part of an all-in-one comprehensive CRM system or CRM software that has different features including CRM. Many additional functions have been added to CRM software to make them more useful. Therefore, management teams have now the ability to track performance and productivity based on information logged and reported within the system.
The CRM system is a software that connects different features or software into an all-in-one tool for businesses to use. It is easy to use and most importantly saves time when you don’t have to use all the different systems during the day. For example, you’ll have time tracking, project management, invoicing and resource scheduling in one platform to name a few. The CRM system can be a modern cloud-based SaaS software that can be used wherever you are. Alternatively, it can be a standalone CRM system that is hosted in the company's web servers. In this article, we mainly focus on cloud-based CRM systems.
The cloud-based CRM has its benefits. You can access it over the internet, using a web browser or mobile app if there is one. Cloud-based CRM is easy to use and can be implemented quickly.
Marketing automation, marketing campaigns, customer support, and social media
CRM software provides a seamless experience across the customer life cycle by helping businesses track communication, manage projects and opportunities, analyze sales, and synchronize data across teams and projects with the goal to maintain even better relationships with customers to grow the business. Additionally, you can have social media in your CRM to improve customer engagement, too.
CRM helps you to manage your marketing campaigns. You can use marketing automation and that way spend more time to develop your business. It's like you had an extra employee. Don't waste your time doing things manually.
We have written an e-guide just to sure you to invest in CRM. It doesn't hurt you to take a look at it. Also, it's a free one.
Download here: How to boost business productivity to +400%
What does CRM system do?
Now we know what is the CRM. What does CRM system do, then? Why should you have a CRM system - actually invest in getting one? So, CRM system is an investment. However, before a business can begin to really enjoy the benefits of advanced CRM software solutions, it must first understand the features, functions, and capabilities that make a CRM system valuable. That’s something we’re now going to take a look at.
In order to run everyday business operations, you need to master many different and important tasks. You have to be on top of sales, accounts, products, and services. Additionally, you might need to handle projects, invoicing and billing, calendars, documents, resources and tracking hours. That’s just to mention a few! You probably haven’t even realized how much different software you use during a day. Make a list! You’ll be surprised.
If you are using or looking at individual single-function software, for each of these functions to run your business, there will soon be too many software in the industry. Juggling between all these software takes more time than you realize. And, we all know time is money, we should use it wisely.
“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”
Why should you invest in CRM?
The CRM system compiles customer's data across different features or functions. You’ll have contacts, sales, reports, and analytics always connected to each other; real-time data with you all the time. Some functions can also be automated, for example, invoicing. You don’t have to remember what to invoice, who to invoice, or when to invoice. Reminders can be automated, too. Invoicing does not need to be difficult, it can be made simple. You don’t have to waste your time keeping track on invoices.
A cloud-based CRM can be customized to suit your needs. It grows and scales with your business needs. That’s why every company benefits from a CRM software, no matter the size of the company.
Summa summarum: A CRM system saves time and money while it enables you to develop and grow your business.
Are you still not sure if you should invest in a CRM system? Here are a few signs that you most definitely should:
- You’re constantly juggling between multiple tools to access business information
- There’s too much time spent on unnecessary manual data entry
- You’ve realized there are no proper steps to align with buyers leading to longer sales cycles
- There’s no aggregated customer information to personalize communication
- You have no insights into your sales teams doing or no tool to prioritize deals
What are some examples of CRM software?
CRM software is important in running a successful business. With CRM you can make your business and, at the same time, service more efficiently, cost-effectively, and reliably. Of course, one size doesn’t fit all. It’s the same with free CRM tools. Gladly, different types of CRM systems exist. Different customer relationship management solutions support different business goals and you need to know what CRM types are out there. For instance, the followings are a few types of CRM systems:
This type of CRM can help better manage your daily operations, such as marketing, sales and customer service.
Analytical CRM can help track customer interactions or improve your customer acquisition and retention processes.
This type of CRM can strengthen engagement across various departments, suppliers or stakeholders.
So there are different CRM types, but then there’s also different CRM solutions. Outsourced CRM solutions include cloud-based CRM software like Salesforce, Taimer, and Zoho (in their alphabetical order).
Three examples of CRM software
Salesforce is a CRM system that brings all the customer data into one integrated platform. It enables you to build a customer-centered business from marketing right through to sales, customer service, and business analysis. Salesforce calls itself the Customer Success Platform. You can easily log, manage and analyze all customer's activities in one place with their CRM software. However, the Salesforce is mainly built for large enterprises with multiple business departments.
Taimer is a CRM system provider too. They own, produce, develop, market, and sell Taimer SaaS-software that is not limited to any specific industry. Their CRM software is easy to get started and simple to use. It is designed to scale as the businesses grow. This CRM software has been developed based on the needs of their customers with strong expertise in project management, sales, resource management, invoicing, billing, and time management. Taimer has both Free version and premium versions. The Taimer Free CRM is targeted towards freelancers and one-man companies, while the Taimer Sales CRM is targeted for early to medium-sized businesses.
Zoho CRM is made as straightforward as possible - from the terminology to the setup. This is how Zoho describes itself on their website. Zoho has crafted their CRM software so that everyone can use it. So you don’t have to be tech-savvy, they say. Any part of Zoho’s CRM system can be customized to suit a business. While Zoho CRM does not have a free plan, like other CRM software, you can pay monthly or annually using the system.
What is included in CRM?
A CRM provides a single place for companies to manage their business. The companies can track potential customers in their sales pipeline and turn leads into deals. The CRM system offers companies a tool to manage projects, sales, and quotes, and also view reports and analytics. A good CRM allows businesses to track time, invoice hours and integrate accounting software. CRM helps your business to grow.
A CRM system helps in having more effective internal communications, and it’s easier to share files and information with the colleagues. This, speeds up work and completing projects gets faster, which saves time. You can add notes to projects, use team chat or different messengers depending on the software. The main feature, however, is building and managing customer relationships. So, CRM helps a business, from freelancers to medium, and even larger enterprises.
Having a CRM system makes everything easier. Every question gets answered. All the customer information is in one place and can be used whenever and wherever. Everything is also up to date. You’ll have real-time data, reports, and analytics.
So what is included in CRM? If it’s a good one - a lot! Features that can be included in a CRM system can be for example:
- Account management
- Invoicing & Billing
- Sales pipeline, quotes & order book management
- Time management
- Resource planning
- Expense management
- Project collaboration, messenger & chat
- Calendars & other integrations
Many features & functions in one unified system
With CRM system you can get many different features in one tool. When you replace multiple different software with one comprehensive one, your day-to-day life will get easier, your costs will go down and your business’ operations become more efficient.
A modern CRM system can be used in all devices (mobile, tablet, laptop). Some systems have their own mobile apps for Android and iOS. The other software that can be used in one system usually include e-invoicing and some important integrations: Google Calendar and other G Suite integrations, Office 365, accounting software, banks and so on.
A good CRM system enables your business to grow. You just need to have the right tools that adapt to your growth.
More noticeably, a good CRM is all about using one tool and platform to manage your business instead of using multiple software. Add contacts, projects, assign tasks, track time, get reports and analytics, and invoice - all in one. This often highly appreciated by CRM software users. We have prepared an e-guide on how using one all-in-one platform can improve business productivity by up to 400%.
Which CRM software is best?
Using too many software to run your business is killing productivity. There are brilliant, all-in-one tools on the market targeting businesses of all sizes. The best customer relationship management software combines at least a few features into one simplified tool and is cloud-based. Let's explore more about this topic by taking a look at the infographic provided by Visually:
- Get big features at small costs
- Make a list: where do you need CRM most?
- No advanced tech skill needed
- Look for scalability
- Try a free demo or trial
After these five steps, you'll know more about CRM. You'll also be convinced and get a CRM system to grow your business. Right?
Why should you invest in cloud-based CRM software?
Implementation of a cloud-based CRM software is simple, quick, and straightforward. You’ll have the software up and running in no time. All data is in the cloud and accessible whenever or wherever, and on any device through the internet.
Notably, scalability and customizations are important no matter what you do. There should be flexibility to scale up and down as the business needs change. For example, adding or removing licenses and changing plans. Advanced cloud-based CRM system provides even large enterprises with easily available customization options. These customizations if a company wants to implement it in-house usually is more costly, and takes more time to develop.
Integrations are a big thing as well. Every CRM software should be easily integrated into other business software like accounting software, for instance. Because of all data and integrations, the interfaces also need to work smoothly together. More integrations are available in could-based CRM systems than standalone ones. Just imagine a business wants to integrate the individual system with different banks, accounting software, and other tools! How costly and time-consuming it would be and how many man powers it would need!
We shouldn’t forget… Actually, we can’t forget security. Cloud-based CRM software is a secure and reliable platform to have all the data stored. Then, the data is safer compared to hosting a CRM system on the premise, as cloud-based CRM systems usually have many backups, stronger encryptions, redundant servers, resilient server mechanisms to tackle attacks, and so on.
And last but definitely not least… Costs. Depending on the vendor, the cloud-based CRM systems usually have a pay as you go model based on different factors. For instance, there is an upfront cost per user, per month on a subscription basis in a variety of systems we have reviewed in this article. This helps in saving huge costs compared to building and maintaining a CRM system in-house. As the business grows and so its demands, the company can update to higher tiers that fit their needs instantly.